Blazers' offer trumps Wolves

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 18, 2012 - 10:39 PM

Portland kept Nicolas Batum -- at a big price -- while the Timberwolves regrouped.

hide

Portland kept Nicolas Batum (left) -- at a big price -- while the Timberwolves regrouped.

Photo: Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Timberwolves' tireless, seemingly timeless pursuit of restricted free agent Nicolas Batum finally did end on Wednesday, when Portland officially matched the rich offer sheet made to the young, promising small forward.

Inevitably, a matter that stretched on through the opening week of the NBA's free-agent signing period reached the conclusion Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey always promised it would.

"The decision was made a long time ago," Olshey told reporters gathered at Las Vegas summer league. "We were never not going to have Nicolas back."

So after their overtures to strike a trade that would have brought Batum to Minnesota failed and Portland matched the offer made on Sunday, the Wolves now turn their free-agent attention elsewhere with the $14 million-plus they cleared in salary-cap space to make room for Batum's four-year offer.

That offer is believed to be worth $45 million after the NBA, according to Olshey, voided some of its bonus clauses.

The Wolves maintained conversations with agents for other players while they danced with Batum's agent and the Blazers for days.

Their wish list now includes Houston unrestricted free agent Courtney Lee, Los Angeles Lakers unrestricted free-agent power forward Jordan Hill, Boston restricted free agent Greg Stiemsma, their own unrestricted free agent Anthony Tolliver and possibly unrestricted free agent Ronnie Brewer if they can't sign Lee or unrestricted free agent Carl Landry if they can't sign Hill.

A team in need of backup help at power forward and center, the Wolves also could put in a waiver claim on Orono's own Jon Leuer, a second-year power forward whom Houston waived on Wednesday. They also have been discussing a trade that would send Wayne Ellington to Memphis for forward Dante Cunningham, but that hasn't yet been finalized.

The players the Wolves might have missed out while they focused on Batum: Houston star forward Luis Scola, who unexpectedly was on the amnesty waiver wire while the Wolves cap space was tied up in the offer sheet, and Memphis guard O.J. Mayo, in whom the Wolves had some, but limited, interest. Phoenix claimed Scola, and Mayo signed with Dallas.

Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn in a statement said the Wolves are "disappointed" that Batum won't play for them but were "prepared for the possibility of this outcome." He also said the team is well-positioned to make additional roster moves with the salary-cap space it has cleared.

The Wolves failed to obtain a player they targeted because he would have been, according to coach Rick Adelman, "a perfect fit" at a small-forward spot where former No. 4 overall pick Wes Johnson has struggled and where former No. 2 pick Derrick Williams has yet to prove he's suited to play.

Batum would have given the Wolves a 23-year-old who can defend as many as three positions and shoot the three-pointer. They also envisioned him as the perfect athletic complement to Ricky Rubio's open-court game.

Olshey said the Blazers never came close to letting Batum go, even though Batum's agent orchestrated a public-relations campaign that suggested his client wanted a fresh start in Minnesota with Rubio, Adelman and Kevin Love and didn't want to return to Portland.

Batum flew from France to Portland on Wednesday. He'll undergo a physical examination on Thursday and hold a Friday news conference there in which he undoubtedly will express his pleasure about remaining a Blazer.

"His agent did what he needed to do, which was get the possible deal for his client," Olshey said. "Nicolas got his deal, we got our player back and we move on."

The Wolves lost Batum, but they forced a division rival to pay a player whom Olshey calls one of the Blazers' two foundation pieces -- forward LaMarcus Aldridge is the other -- in the neighborhood of $11 million a year for the next four years.

"It doesn't matter, it really doesn't matter," Olshey told reporters, referring to Batum's pricetag. "Let us worry about the money. You guys write about the players and the team and how well or how poorly we play and how guys are developing. We'll worry about how we manage our cap and how guys get paid. Guys' values are based on what they bring to the team, and I can assure you Nicolas will absolutely live up to this contract."

WHAT'S NEXT?

Now that the Wolves missed out on Nicolas Batum, here are their possible targets:

• Courtney Lee, SG/SF, Houston

• Jordan Hill, PF/C, L.A. Lakers

• Greg Stiemsma, C, Boston

• Also, Anthony Tolliver, Ronnie Brewer, Carl Landry.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close